I think most people really dislike mosquitoes and if you could do something to remove them from your vicinity then you probably would. Here is one possible solution to that problem: the Amplecta AMT 100.

Since we moved to a house about a year ago I have been looking at different methods of removing mosquitos. There are several options, but most are quite pricey so when I saw this budget mosquito trap I was a bit sceptical, but it I just coulden't resist it and bought one hoping for the best.

Here is my review of it.

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First impressions

Right out of the box it seems to have a fairly sturdy build quality. It is mostly plastic but it seems like a pretty decent thickness. I doubt a few bumps or misshaps will do much damage to it. Looking inside it there is a UV Lamp, and a large fan (looks like something that came right out of a computer case, I was a little surprised at this, but whatever works). The netting that is supposed to catch the bugs also seems pretty fine quality, I've read in some places that the smallest bugs can escape this but most things I want to catch aren't that small, and Im sure this could be modified by placing a finer net around the bag if you really want to catch them too.

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The manual is quite thick, but this is basically the only usefull page with instructions. The rest are warnings in various languages.

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Installation

This was quite easy. There are only 4 things you need to do.

  • Install the mosquito catching net in the body. Really easy, it simply clicks into place.
  • Put the green "smell" cube in the top compartment (this creates a smell that attracts the mosquitoes). Hardest part about this was getting the wrapping plastic off.
  • Find a location to put it. The spot should be around 1 - 1.5 meters of the ground and fairly central in your garden.
  • Plug it in. The extension cord was quite long so it was rather easy to find a decent spot.
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Performance

This is really the only thing I or probably anyone else will care about, will it decrease the number of mosquitoes. After installing it last evening it has now been running thought the night, and it has caught quite a few buggs. Ultimatly only time will tell if it will make any real impact, and I will update this post as I test it more, but as you can see from the picture it is catching them with pretty decent success rate.

Here is a picture of the bottom of the net after it had been running for around 12 hours from evening to morning.

 

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I'll report back with more results after it's been running a few days.

 

 

 

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I've been using the samsumg smart things hub for 1 year. It's a great home automation tool and during this year I have grown quite fond of it. I now take the things it does for granted and it makes my life just a little bit easier.

What I've done with it.  

  • Lights throughout the house that are turned on 10 minutes before I get up in the morning (separate schedule for workdays and weekends).
  • Lights are automatically turned off again after I go to work or the outside light is bright enough.
  • Lights are turned on 30 minutes before sunset.
  • Lights are turned off at 1 am.

  • Can turn lights on and off using one of 3 google homes located throughout the house.
  • Grouped lights into categories such as outside, upstairs, downstairs for easy use when talking to google home.

  • Connected a strobe light to a switch in the garage that my wife can use to call my attention when I'm working in the garage.
  • Connected a heater to a switch in the garage so that I can turn it on before I go out
  • Turn heater off automatically 2 hours after it was turned on (so I cant forget it).

Both me and my wife have gotten so used to the automatic lights always being on, you never have to worry about it being dark, I cant even remember when I last turned on a light manually in the morning like a caveman. And if you get up at an odd hour, you can just say "hey google, turn on the lights" and the problem is solved.

My biggest grief with it are the "hidden" cost. But the parts are slowly getting cheaper. For it to be any good at all you need a lot of connected parts such as the wall socket switches. I have some where around 12 of these switches throughout the house. As of right now they costs around 25 USD each. They started at around 35-40 USD a year ago. These work great if you want to and can connect an entire light fixture with these. 

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If you however want to automate a regular ceiling light (that dosen't plug into the wall) then you need to buy lights that work with the z-wave or zigbee protocol (that the smart things hub uses to communicate with the things). Ikea has come to the rescue here.

It was actually when Ikea started to make the automated lights that I got into this and bought the hub as before then I saw this as simply too expensive. But now with them entering into the market you can get a connected light for as little as 10 USD. Which is massively cheaper than the Phillips hue or similar lights cost. The only downside is that you cant set the entire RGB scale of colors.. But I think thats mostly a gimmick you get tired of anyways. The below light costs 9 Eur from Ikea. I have 20 of these around the house both inside and outside. They work GREAT.

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If not for these lights and ikea producing them so cheaply my excitement and the result of my home automation would not have been positive at all. The only downside to these lights is that they are not officially supported. But they none the less work perfectly.

So, all in all. One year later. I have bought lots of "things", and that is something you need to understand before getting into this. The hub is the small part. You will need to buy LOTS of additional things before this is usefull or fun at all.

As for the app itself (the only way to control the hub). It is good. I would wish there were a few more options but it covers almost all of my use cases exceot a few odd ones. The light blinker that my wife uses to call my attention that turns of 10 seconds after being turned on took me a while to configure. But all the standard turn something on at a certain time or trigger something based on another event are really easy to configure.

'All in all, I would buy this hub again.. and if you have been thinking about doing so you can now safely jump in to home automation and not worry too much about costs and compatability since prices have dropped significantly and most things just work.

Just rememer once you start, there's no way to stop yourself.

If you want to read more about the hub you can follow this link

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Went through my library of videos that I have taken during the year and put together a few of my favorites. I really like the Mavic, and have pretty much stopped flying my racing quads and opted  to bring the mavic to any place I go that might have some sort of scenic view. 

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I bought a Samsung Smartthings home automation hub a while back (link). Since then I have added several lights to the setup. The smartthings hub is compatible with many different types of lights and as of recent IKEA got themselves into the market and literally turned it upside down in matters of price.

Up untill a few months ago the best light you could get was a Philips Hue and those things cost 3-4x more than the equivalent IKEA Trådfri light bulb.

The best thing about the Trådfri bulbs is that they can connect directly to the Smart things hub. No other hardware required. So for less than 10 USD you can get a dimmable smart light compatible with the best hub on the market (right now). And if you want to be able to set the color temperature IKEA has you covered there too. For 15USD you can get a dimmable bulb with custom color temperature. Setting them up can however be a bit tricky. It's easier with the 1000lm light bulbs but not much hard for the color temperature bulbs either, you just need to add a handler for them before you proceeed (see end of post).

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 To set up (or pair) the 1000lm bulbs with your hub do the following.

  1. Set your hub to start discovering "Things" in the app.

  2. Connect the light bulb to a socket and hold it against the hub (yes touching it).

  3. Next comes the tricky part. You have to blink the bulb in a special rythm.
    • To get the bulb into pairing mode you need to turn it on and off 6 times in a row.
    • You must also keep to a rythm of on for .5 seconds and off for 1 second. It won't be discovered if you don't do it this way.
    • Go to fast or to slow and nothing happens. I know because I spent several hours trying to pair them before finding this thread explaining it. 
    • When it works the bulb should make a very fast blink after its turned on the 6th time (more like a slight dimming).

  4. Once they are discovered they will be listed as "Thing" in the app when you are discovering devices. When you see it in the app, give it a name, and Add it.

  5. The hub does not know it's a light bulb yet. To change this you need to load up the SmartThings IDE, located HERE.

  6. Once logged in go to you devices list. If you don't see any devices try clicking on "My locations" and select your hub (it should be listed there). Sometimes devices won't be shown untill you do this (I think it's a bug).

  7. Click on your newly added Thing (should be called what ever you named it), and select Edit at the bottom.

  8. Now pick "Zigbee White Color Temperature Bulb". It should look something like the picture below (with different IDs and names).

  9. That's it you should now be able to use the Trådfri 1000lm 12.5w E27 led bulb from the phone app.

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If you wan't to add the bulbs with custom color temperature you must first add the Custom Device handled for them from here. Once that is done you do exactly as for the 1000lm bulbs with the one difference that you select the custom device handler "IKEA-Tradfri" in the "Type" field instead of "Zigbee White Color Temperature Bulb".

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As of now I have replaced all my outdoor lights with the 1000lm lights and made them turn on and off with the sunrise and sunset. I have also connected around 10 of the color temperature bulbs indoors and set them to turn on in the morning before I get up.

It works beautifully.

2017-08-27 16:00 

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If you are just looking for a quick summary of the router: There are a lot of reviews out there regarding the Velop, most of them will tell you it's currently the best router / mesh network solution you can buy, and unless you want to tinker and know what you are doing they are completly correct. If you want something that works extremly well right out of the box, is easy to install, does not require any network knowledge, and you don't mind spending the money (it's very expensive even for a top end router).. get the Velop.


The Good

This is by far one of the best looking routers I have had, and that's a good thing because Linksys specifically tells you to place it out in the open where people are, this is probably one of the reasons it delivers such good numbers (most of the time you are sitting right next to it) and it's competing against your old router that is hidden away in some closet. But let's look a little more into the details of it.


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The setup of this router is very easy. You take one router (all nodes are the same so it does not matter which) and place it where your internet connection is, and either plug it internet connection socket on modem or fibre module. You download an app and click a few times in an very easy to follow guide, and add the rest of the nodes in turn as the app tells you too. The iOS or Android App guides you the entire way, very simple and very non technical person friendly. No computer neccessary and its all over in 10 minutes.

There are two key aspects of how this router works that makes it very intresting technologically. The kit I bought came with two identical routers. These two routers communicate with each other on a dedicated "backbone" wifi network that does not get interference from the regular network traffic (because it uses a completly different channel). This is what separates it from a regular repeater. A normal repeater communicates with all clients and the base router (the one connected to the internet) on the same channel, this means network traffic throughput is cut in half since it needs to receive, re-send, wait for response, and then send again to a client all on the same channel (kind of how a regular conversation works if you are shouting messages between two people). The Velop does not do this. It communicates with clients and the base network station at the same time using different channels (it can shout at everyone at the same time and everyone still hears everything perfectly). But there are other products out there that also do this, such as the Netgear Orbi (also a very good router). 

But what really separates this router from the rest is the Mesh network aspect. That means that each module in the network can communicate with all other modules making sure they are always finding the optimal route for your data, and this network is also self healing, so if one node goes down the other nodes simply find different routes. This does not really matter when you just have two nodes such as me. But if I were to expand on this and get one more (if I for example find a spot with bad connection speeds) it would be very usefull. I could for example put them all in a straight line from one end of the house to the next and the traffic would be jumping from one to the next, regular repeaters don't do this. The Netgear Orbi does not do this.

There is also one other piece of new tech in this thing (that most new routers come with) and that is MU-MIMO. This basically means that the router can communicate with all clients at the same time and does not have to wait for any client (which other older routers do). This means that old routers could get slowed down by having many connected clients, but with this (and most new routers) that does not happen anymore.

There are also other mesh routers out there that do all of these things but the Velop outperforms them all: Velop vs Orbi, Velop vs Amplifi HD.

The Bad

As you can probably tell I really like this router, but there are two distinct downsides and one thing I just don't like about it. The price is the biggest downside. It is expensive. Each router will as of writing this set you back 150 USD, and you need at least two of them for there to be any purpose in buying Velop at all (there are better single node routers for less money if that is all you want).

The second problem with it is that each node only has two network ports. On the one connected to the internet there will only be one left. So if you have anything that does not use WiFi such as a printer or NAS you need to get a switch (I have several such things so I got a Netgear Switch for 20 USD along with it).. This in itself is not a big issue, but it adds even more to the total cost of getting everything working. I would have liked Linksys to add 4 ports on each unit, this would cover most normal users needs.

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The final thing that bothers me a bit is that installing it requires you to register an account with Linksys. There is no reason for me to share my name, email, or anything else with them. But this is easily circumvented by using a throw away email and fake information. I just don't like the trend of everyone requiring accounts for everything.

But what If you know what you're doing, is it still worth it?

The answer here is yes and no. The router does everything you might expect it to do, it forwards ports, has a firewall and let's you block things, edit the DHCP settings and reserve ip addresses. So if that's what you mean then yes, it's still worth it.

On the other hand if you are looking at something like Ubiquiti Edge router and AP AC Lite one of those routers and two of those access points along with an extra switch will get you more performance in all categories. I currently have their Edge router and ONE of those access points (hidden away in a crawl space) and when testing the Velop they performed pretty much the same throughout the house with one bonus point to Velop for reaching a little further into the garden, but then again I could add a seconds AP AC Lite access point without it being as expensive as the Velops and then the Velop would have no advantage. On the other hand it took me well over an hour of command prompt writing and installing software on my computer to get those things working and it was not easy at all. They really are NOT meant for anyone who don't mind spending several hours of writing commands and knowing what a subnet mask is and like fiddling with weird configuration settings.

Conclusion

This is probably going to be the top end router for the rest of 2017, and a bit into 2018. If you don't mind the price, live in a large space, and just want something that dosen't require fiddling and works perfectly from the start there is (right now) no better option.